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Odd politics, presidential tradition: Bush is back


The following Associated Press story ran in the May 30, 2012, edition of the Boston Globe. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

June 1, 2012

By Ben Feller

WASHINGTON—This is a little awkward.

President Barack Obama can't seem to stop bad-mouthing the record of former President George W. Bush. But on Thursday, Obama is going to welcome his predecessor and proudly preside as Bush's image and legacy are enshrined at the White House forever.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will join Bush and his wife, Laura, as their official portraits are unveiled. The incumbent is keeping up a presidential tradition typically defined by cheer and graciousness, but not without some uneasiness....

"I would be surprised if there's very much tension" this time around, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University who has long followed Bush's career....

"George W. Bush has been remarkably, and even strangely silent, even once you respect his sentiment that he did not want to get in Barack Obama's way," said Jillson. "I think part of that is just giving himself time to recover from what had to be an astoundingly difficult close to his presidency."...